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Paul Strauch "2015 Surf Pioneer"

Inventing new maneuvers on a longboard

Since longboarding greatly preceded shortboarding, it’s safe to say that if you’re inventing new maneuvers on a longboard you most certainly deserve to be called a pioneer. And this year’s inductee Paul Strauch is credited with not one but two techniques surfers still adhere to in the modern era.

Throughout the late-1950s, the Hawaii-born Strauch began working on a functional bottom turn used in bigger surf. And around that same time, he developed a noseriding stance that not only appeared stylish but increased stability when tickling the tip in larger waves. The “cheater five”, as it’s commonly known today, began as the Strauch crouch. To perform this, the surfer squats down over the back foot while extending the front foot towards the nose. Unlike a hang five, the rider’s weight is almost completely on the back foot, away from the nose, which avoids pearling in larger surf.

PHOTO: Strauch at Sunset Beach. Photo courtesy of Dr. Don James.

PHOTO: Performing his Cheater 5.
PHOTO: Paul Strauch posing with his SWoF stone. Photo courtesy of Sharon Marshall.

PHOTO: Induction Day 2015 with Paul Strauch  approaching the stage. Photo courtesy of Bobby Zee Images.
After a stint as co-owner of Alii Surfboards in Honolulu, he studied business and graduated from University of Hawaii in 1968 before making a living outside the surf world. But without Strauch’s early innovation in the water, surfing’s eventual progression may have been slightly delayed.
PHOTO: Induction Day 2015 with Paul Strauch thanking the SWoF. Photo courtesy of Bobby Zee Images.
Duke Contest Duke Kahanamoku & Paul Strauch
PHOTO: December 14, 1965 Sunset Beach Hawaii, awards for the first Duke Contest. Left to right Fred Van Dyke, Duke Kahanamoku, shaking hands is Paul Strauch, 2nd place, 17 year old Jeff Hackman was the winner. Behind Paul is Felipe Pomar from Peru the 3rd place winner. Photo courtesy of Leo Hetzel.
Paul Strauch
PHOTO: 1966 September World Surf Contest at Pacific Beach, San Diego. Paul Strauch, Hawaii. The winner was Nat Young, Australia, 2nd was Jock Sutherland, Hawaii, 3rd Corky Carroll, California, and 4th was Steve Bigler, California. Photo courtesy of Leo Hetzel.